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Quote Sheet: Bruce Arena and Claudio Reyna Address the Media in Kaiserslautern

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (June 16, 2006) - Manager Bruce Arena and captain Claudio Reyna spoke at a press conference prior to the team's training session at Fritz-Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on June 16.

June 16, 2006
Pregame USA-Italy

On the team’s chances to advance:
“The chances are that there are six points out there for our team. And it starts with the game tomorrow. We need to get a result tomorrow to put our team in a position to advance.”

On what encouraged him more than anything this week in training following the loss:
“They trained well. We had good training sessions every day. We analyzed our play on Tuesday against the Czech Republic and put that game behind us. And starting Wednesday it was all about preparing for Italy. We had good training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. We will put a team on the field that is ready to play tomorrow. Whether we get a result or not remains to be seen, but we will be ready to play.”

On the team’s focus this week:
“We’re fine. Obviously, any team after a loss is not real upbeat and it takes a little time to get the team back, which is only natural. But I think they put the game with the Czech Republic behind them real quick and are now focused on Italy.”

On the weaknesses of Italy:
“I know of none. I know of no weakness of Italy. … Like any game against any team, you will get your chances. There’s no difference if you playing Italy or the Czech Republic or Ghana. There are chances out there and we need be a little bit better when those opportunities present themselves.”

On the impact Kasey Keller might play in the game:
“This game I suspect Kasey’s gotta be ready to make a big save to keep us in a game or help us win. In the history of U.S. Soccer, there has not been a goalkeeper better suited for that role. Hopefully he is ready to come up big for us tomorrow.”

On the fact Kasey Keller has been apart of three U.S. World Cup games without a win:
“Over the past four World Cups, there have only been three wins for the U.S. team, so I don’t think you can be too critical of Kasey. He has had a great career. It speaks for itself. He was voted the player of the year last year for U.S. Soccer. He has had an awesome club career in three different countries. He has always been around the U.S. team and is probably our best goalkeeper statistically in the history of our team. There are so many superlatives you can lay on Kasey, he has been just fantastic. And I would like to see nothing better for him than have a win in the World Cup. And what a better game to have that happen against Italy. We are all eagerly looking forward to that game and it would be great to see Kasey come up big tomorrow and win that game. That is our goal.”

On whether the team will have a “chip on its shoulder” or come out with an attitude against Italy:
“Well, we better have a bit of an attitude that we can play and that we are ready to play over 90 minutes, or we are not going to be successful. Our 11 players on the field have to be ready to play tomorrow. Whether you call that a chip on your shoulder or not, we have to be ready to play. We are playing one of the better teams in this tournament and we have to be ready to play. However you want to describe the way we need to be when we step on the field, we have to be ready to deal with whatever the Italian team throws at us and compete for 90 minutes.”

On staying at Ramstein Air Base, rather than a hotel:
“Well it is a nice setting for us. We are together for a couple of days and there are some things that can help players relax a little bit more. It is nice having people around that put what we’re doing into perspective. … The reception was nice with the Americans there. The players have been very excited about staying there. We had a trial run against Poland (in March) and it is nice to be there again.”

On how important it is to keep a positive attitude following a defeat the USA suffered:
“It is not only myself, but the staff. It is important that we don’t put our heads down. For all the teams that lost the first game, it is very easy to be negative and put your head down. Everyone was disappointed the day after, but then we got right to it. We got right to work. It is not only important for me, but all the other guys to know that there are three games in this group. We have another difficult opponent in Italy, and I believe that everyone learned from that first game. At this level small little plays here and there, we got a goal against early, really change the game. We have to be more focused against Italy. We have to concentrate from the first minute. And that has to be the approach. I think everyone was ready in that last game, but that early goal put us on our heels a little bit. Everyone is ready to go.”

On whether he spoke to the team coming off the loss:
“I spoke to a lot of different guys to make sure how they were. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and handle the loss well. When we got back to training two days after the game it was intense and everyone was focused. It was easy for me. There was no one who was pouting around. Everyone was ready to go and ready to play. There were a few guys, of course, who need to know that this is how it goes. You don’t win every game in sport. You just have to bounce back. Now we can show what we are made of us a team and I think this is a great challenge for us. This game is big and we need to show what we are made of.”

On if there are specific players the USA needs to be aware of on Italy:
“I think up front with Toni and Gilardino, they have two real goal scorers. Guys that are hungry to score goals. We have to concentrate the entire game. They are predators. You give them one chance and they are there and they will put it away. It is the job of everyone, our defense, but everyone to make sure they don’t especially get the ball. Totti, if he plays, Del Piero, if he plays, they are all big players. They have a lot of big players, but those are probably the three or four, if Del Piero gets involved, who will be dangerous. But they have experience throughout and anywhere you look on the field they have players playing in big games and big leagues, so they are going to be ready. I think this game is more important in terms of how we approach it. They are more comfortable with three points in the bag, so we have to be careful how we approach it and be sure that we are ready to play a good 90 minutes for the whole game.”

On the urgency of this game after the loss compared to USA-CZE:
“I think unlike the first game where a point or a win or a loss wouldn’t have done anything. Now we know what we need. We need a result of some magnitude. We need a minimum of a point. I think that urgency could help us. We need to be careful that we don’t send too many players forward, but we need to play and show that as a team we want to get through this group. Our goal is to get out of this and we have three games to do that. We will still have a chance.”

On the weaknesses of Italy:
“They are strong through the team. They have no glaring weakness. The big teams in the World Cup have good players all the way through. I don’t think they have any weaknesses.”

On the U.S. attack against Italy:
“Everyone needs to be brave and want the ball, but also we have to be patient at times and mix up our game. The Czechs did a good job of getting a lot of players behind the ball and made it difficult for us to find space for our attacking players. A lot of the games the goals are coming from set pieces and crosses. I think going through the middle against Italy is something difficult. I think it is normal in any game that from the width and flanks and getting crosses in and especially set pieces decide games. There have been the occasional wonder strike and incredible goals, which is nice, but you see a majority of goals come from set pieces and crosses. That is never really a secret. I thin it is going to be the same way and we need to create things from out wide.”

On whether he is thinking that these might be his final games with the USA:
“No, not really. I am enjoying the experience. … It is an amazing experience. You have to let everyone know from the beginning that you have to enjoy it all the way, no matter what happens. And I am doing the same thing. It’s great. I am still getting butterflies like I’ve never had before, and that is a nice thing. It is an amazing feeling to be a part of the World Cup, and playing big games against teams like Italy, a team with an amazing tradition. I think that is what the team has to take on the field, that the moment we are in right now is amazing, and to enjoy it, to be incredibly hungry with the situation, and I am really no other. For me it is more important to help the team get a result tomorrow and just play my role within the team.”

On how the team strikes a balance between needing to score, while avoiding the famed Italian counterattack:
“It is something we know going in and I’m sure they know that as well. It will be part of the game tomorrow. We have 90 minutes to try to win the game, and not try to win it in the first two minutes or lose it in the first two minutes. So we know that. We understand that having won the first game, they have an advantage. They don’t need to have an all out attack and go for the win. Their strength always is to play that way and they are used to that and defend well. So we have to be patient. We aren’t going to get 20 chances on goal that is for sure. If we get one, we have to be sure we do everything to score. They don’t give away so many chances. Our job tomorrow is at the right time to put pressure on them. When there is an opportunity again for a set piece or to put dangerous balls in or get a shot, we have to do everything to get it on target to make their goalkeeper work, because he is an excellent goalkeeper, as well.”